Foto på Ostindiska kompaniet Göteborg

Klas Rönnbäck awarded the Heckscher Prize for article on how the East India Company's operations affected the Swedish economy


This year’s Heckscher Prize, hence the best paper published in three issues of Scandinavian Economic History Review in 2022, is awarded to Klas Rönnbäck and Leos Muller for their paper Swedish East India trade in a value-added analysis, c. 1730–1800.

The prize is given to a successful attempt to cast new light on a question that has attracted attention from economic historians as well as the general public, namely, how much did the Swedish economy of the eighteenth century really gain from the voyages and commercial activities of the East Indian Company.

Applying a value-chain analysis, the paper finds that the company’s endeavors had a non-negligible impact on the economy, and a significant impact on the trade and transport sectors, during a long part of the eighteenth century.

- In Gothenburg, the East India Company is still present, both in people's minds and in the cityscape, but within economic-historical research, the company's importance has long been marginalized or ignored. With our article, we believe we can give a better picture of how extensive the company's operations really were in financial terms, says Klas Rönnbäck.

The Heckscher Prize

The Heckscher Prize is awarded annually to the best article published in the previous year. The award is named after Scandinavia’s perhaps most famous economic historian, Eli Heckscher, an article by whom was posthumously published in the first issue of the Review.

The article

Link to the article “Swedish East India trade in a value-added analysis, c. 1730–1800”:

The award winners

Klas Rönnbäck, Professor in Economic History at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg

Leos Müller, Professor in History, Maritime History, at Stockholm University